Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Third Post in a Row

I am on a blogging roll! Be sure to scroll down to see a few new pictures.  If yo haven't been to Casey's blog lately, go see the kids' school pictures. They turned out so good!

Today has been a busy day at work, and I still have a few positions I want to apply to either today or tomorrow. Considering it is nearly 3:30 and my energy is quickly draining, that may be a task for first thing tomorrow! The next few days promise to be filled with fun activities.  Though by day I may be looking through bills and mail about asset based lending, by tomorrow night I will be enjoying Disney on Ice with the kids and Casey. Friday brings Trunk-or-Treat at the school with the kids and Vicki (Casey will be working as it is a PTO event), and a weekend of pre-Halloween fun with the kids, which they have already secured my promise, will include pumpkin carving.  Sunday night it is an evening of door-to-door trick-or-treating.  Casey and I have not quite figured out how that will work. I have heard they want to go to Marlene's son's old neighborhood (no idea where that is), but I don't think that will happen with me.  I am fine taking them through the areas we have always visited, including a trip to Grandma's and Grandpa's. It is also OK if they would rather go with Casey, Marlene and her son.  I would miss them, but want them to do what is going to be the most fun for them.   That is kind of how we are approaching all the upcoming Holidays.  It is nice that Casey and I are not having any battles at all in that area - we both just want the kids to be happy - however we share that time is completely flexible. Someday it won't be as flexible, as we make plans in different cities or with different family members, but for now, we're both very open and want to make the kids' time fun and stress-free. 

Feeling the Fall

Fall is here, and though I tend to dread it every year because it heralds the beginning of the rainy season, I do love it!  I am constantly amazed by the magical changing colors of the leaves, the whirlwinds of leaves blowing across the sidewalks,  the smell of the cool, fresh air, and the feel of it on my face.  It has been a really nice fall, so far, with mostly nice weather, and last night, for the first time, I smelled someone starting what was probably their first fire of the season.  Even though I'd just spent too much time wandering the grocery store aisles in search of Halloween candy, Zip Lock bags and acne wash, and was feeling a bit cranky, as soon as I got outside, the shopping trip was forgotten and the magic of fall rushed through my body.   It is a good time of year!

Halloween Fun!

On Monday night the kids wanted to go to a Halloween store to prepare for Trunk or Treat night at their school, which is Friday. We found a few decorations to enhance those purchased for the same event last year, but mostly it was about the experience. Kelton is still pretty scared of all the moving, frightening, life-sized displays. Kaylen, is not and never has been.  Kaylen led Vicki around the store, not hesitating anywhere, trying on masks and checking out accessories. Kelton led me around all the really cool stuff and through the costumes only.  Silly boy.  Cute he is not too tough to admit to the things that scare him.  I snapped a few pictures of the fun!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do Men Pay Less?

Have you ever paid attention to the real differences in men's and women's products?  Sure, marketing is different to appeal to the stereotypical differences, but have you looked at the real differences?  Often, it is simply a matter of a different color label or scent.  I have noticed a new  trend in mens vitamins and have not investigated if the content is any different, or if it is just marketing.  This weekend I was struck by the actual product and price difference in men's and women's jackets.  Vicki needed a good jacket for the cooler weather and rain that has begun here in Portland.  Unlike me, she is willing to shop in the women's department for that sort of thing.  I have learned I usually will not like the colors or cuts offered to women, so other than for certain items, I tend to shop in the men's departments.  Since she was open to either option, we looked at both the women's and men's jackets and found that even for the same brand, and same basic style, the women's jackets were about twice the price, and did not appear to be as well-made.  I know not all women can, or would want to shop for themselves in the men's departments, but for some things, it may be worth investigating. I don't know if "they" just know women are typically more interested in style and shopping and will pay more for the same product, or if the cleaner lines of men's clothing makes them less expensive to manufacture (doubt it), but there is something unfair going on and women are paying the price.

When the Wind Blows....

Ah, another week of working, job hunting, playing mom, and enjoying life with my girlfriend in the same time zone. The weather has turned from gorgeous blue skies and warmish weather to rainy and blustery, but the leaves are still amazing.  I am looking out my kitchen window right now and see these beautiful leaves that are changing from green to bright red along the edges with almost a deep purple on the inside. Fascinating what nature is doing to them.  I am trying to read through emails, sort through ads about  best eye wrinkle cream and books that I might enjoy, and search my list of sites that have job postings, but the colors waving in the wind keep drawing my attention. Not sure who will win the battle for my attention, but my netbook is looking less and less interesting with each gust of wind...

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Last night I finally went through my pictures from my trip back east earlier this month. What a whirlwind trip it was - and I did get some great photos!  What a lot of diversity - from some Washington DC buildings and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History displays, to Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park from the back of  motorcycle, then Atlantic City - a study of contrasts in itself - gorgeous beach and flashy casinos, and then a side trip to see the Liberty Bell. That was all in less than one week!

So...I have shared a Picassa album with family and friends, and if you want to see the lot of them, just let me know....but here are a few that just seemed like exceptional pictures to me.  Hope you agree:

This is one of my favorites. It may get blown up and hung up in the living room. :)

Gift Cards from

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching. I cannot believe it is almost time to start shopping again already.  Kind of stressful this year, with only having a half-time job, but there has been a bit saved up here and there.  I know Casey and I both are trying to get gift ideas out of the kids.  The problem is that they can easily change their minds and interests pretty much overnight at this age. Buy something now in October and by the end of December, they might not have any interest in it.

Kelton is really into gift cards.  I do not like getting him ones as main presents, but don't mind if other people do. He is really good about spending them wisely on things he knows he will like or use.  I also would prefer to buy people tangible gifts, if I know them well enough to select something they would like, but will opt for gift cards now and then.  This is a gift card I had not thought of before - Regal Cinemas. Seems like Regal runs all of our theaters out here, and with movies being so expensive, who wouldn't enjoy receiving a gift card?

I like getting gift cards for things like movies or restaurants because it means an actual event - I can look forward to a night out. I usually save it for sometime when I really cannot afford to splurge on fun - and then I get to by using the gift card!  So, for me, a gift card is a nice surprise at the time I receive it, then I can anticipate the fun, and then it is fun to actually use. All around - good return for the money and they can be found on  sale almost everywhere.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Surfing the Web

It was a good day. Nothing spectacular happened. Had lunch with friends. Enjoyed the sunshine. Talked with my girlfriend a few times. Applied for a job and found a couple others I might apply for tomorrow.
Doing a lot of thinking and creative work around where I want to go with my life.  Surfed the internet a fair amount, researching organizations, came across odd news stories and ads, something for lipo 6 hers that is a fat burning product, and played around a bit on Facebook.  Cooked myself a nice dinner, talked with the kids, enjoyed my evening. Like I said, nothing spectacular, but I can honestly say that I appreciated an all-around nice day.

Feelin' Good!

Ever wake up feeling like the world is full of possibilities?  Today is one of those days!  I have found a few jobs to apply for, but even more,  am feeling good about some decisive action that needs to be taken on the volunteer front.  (Wow....all that legal training has enabled me to use a lot of words to say not much!)  Just because there are not a lot of jobs being posted, and maybe not even many non-posted opportunities,  does not mean that I should not be out there building skills, making relationships, and doing good work in the world.  What do "they" say - find what you love and the money will follow?  (My student loan companies will be happy to hear that!)

I am feeling like I am about to head someplace really good on the career-front.  Maybe it is the gorgeous sunny day we are having. Maybe it is the chocolate that I just consumed. Maybe it is that I am getting excited that Vicki and I will soon be together again.  Maybe all of the above.  Heck - MAYBE I really am on the right path! Doesn't matter too much the reason.  I am feeling very positive and I will take THAT any day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Need more outlets

There are not enough outlets in the apartment. Or maybe there are just too many electrical things requiring a socket.  We've already purchased adapters that make one plug into three...but still....we are sadly lacking.  On one wall there are two wall-mounted lamps that plug in. There goes that outlet.  Still, in that same general area there is a tabletop fountain, a night light, a fan, and a radio with an odd rectangular-shaped antenna.  Clearly, too much there.  On the wall where the flat screen TV lives, there is the TV itself, the DVR, a DVD player and the Wii station.  Doing the math?  Too many!  There was something else that we considered putting over there, but realized the outlet situation made it impractical.  It is that way pretty much all over the apartment. Guess how many outlets in the kitchen. One. That's right. One. The toaster, the blender, the microwave, the coffee pot.....oops, too many! Added the one-to-three adapter, and we just get by, but when the mixer comes out..something has to go.  

Ironically, the little cabin the kids and I stayed in a few weeks back....the one without any kitchen or had an outlet about every 6 feet.  Very convenient!  *shaking my head*  Oh, well!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trip Report Coming Soon!

It is my last full day with Vicki in Virginia, and we are trying to enjoy every moment without getting too bogged down in the depressing thoughts of being apart again soon. It is a balancing act though.  It is wonderful being out here and sharing so many amazing sights - the history, the entertainment, and as my friend Dave said, "the sheer joyful tackiness of the Jersey Shore."  Still, I must return home to my kids, the job search, ads for customer service jobs spread amongst the legal jobs, my current job, apartment and other responsibilities. We are trying to figure out how this bi-coastal relationship thing works, and realizing that like much of life, we will have to make it up as we go along. It is working well so far. We have now been together for over 7 months and both feel the promise of a bright future ahead.

You Can Get Shoes at Who Knew?

large image

I know it is the end of the summer....oh, who am I fooling? The beginning, or so, of fall, and what I am about to write about seems summery, but I wanted to say that I LOVE my Keens. The model pictured is called the Whisper, and I think it is the model I have, though that name does not sound familiar.  There are several styles and I did try the two different ones that my local REI had available at the time - one I did not like because my toe stuck out in an annoying manner, but these, ah, these were a great fit!  They have a rubber sole so you can get them wet and they dry quickly, and the straps are a washable polyester fabric, so toss the shoes right in the washing machine, and they come out looking brand new, even after spending a weekend soaked in mud.

In my area, it seems like Teva is the brand of water shoe we hear most about, but Vicki's friend told her Keens are way better. She tried them, and is a convert, and now, so am I.  I wear these on the airplane to keep my feet cool and unrestricted....and I think I put on at least 5 miles between DC, Atlantic City and Philadelphia over the past five days. that I think about it.....MORE than 5 miles.....probably double that.  They are very comfy to walk in, and have easily adjustable straps - so if you start to feel a bit uncomfortable - it is easy to tighten or loosen, as needed. Both Vicki and I ended up with a small blister during the first outing from not having the straps quite tight enough, but that was quickly remedied.

Though in Portland, it is going to be hard to find these shoes until the weather warms up a bit, I imagine they are still on sale in various parts of the country, and online.  I will probably still use mine this fall, until it gets too cold, and pull them out at the first signs of spring next year!

Bally's Wins Casino Theme Contest

Atlantic City - the Boardwalk at night is awesome!  Being a West Coaster, I knew little about Atlantic City and had not given any thought to the fact that there might be themed casinos. This meant that all the casinos were a delightful surprise!  From the Tropicana's tropical theme, to Caesar's Greek theme - it was all close to spectacular.  Vicki and I both agree that the winner for sheer immersive experience and creativity goes to Bally's Wild West.  Here is a picture of the front facade....made to look like hotels and buildings of the old west. Inside the theme is continued with murals on all the walls of canyons, trees and valleys, facades of more western-style buildings, coal cars running along train tracks, various cactus, waterfalls, and even restrooms outfitted to look as if you are in an elegant saloon. It is sort of a seedy Disneyland Frontierland for adults, and though the slot machines beg for attention, just wandering around looking at the detailed artwork is an event in itself.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Is there a Buy.Com near Atlantic City?

This is a serious question. It is serious because, if you follow my Facebook page, or maybe I have blogged about it, you know I have been in Washington DC, Virginia, and am now in Atlantic City. I have taken up enough pictures to already have only 41 left on my SD card in my camera. I often have a backup but for some reason, I did not pack one this time. Oh - I know - it is because my backup is now storing pictures in my dresser drawer. It is my backup system. :)  I think I only have a 2GB, or maybe a 4GB card with me, but I need another. I am NOT done taking pictures!  Atlantic City along the Boardwalk at night is absolutely breathtaking - not in a "look at the gazillion stars overhead" kind of way, but in the "lights and sounds and energy" kind of way. So much to look at!  

If there was a near by I could pick up a great 16 GB SD card for under $30. Yes, it is on about a half-price sale, so how great would that be?  The brand is SanDisk, which I have purchased before, and as I recall it is because of  good reviews and decent pricing. Sales rock!  So, although if I see a SanDisk at a great price at the mall out on the pier...uh..."The Pier Shops at Caesar's"...I might pick one up, I did find a solution.  This is where I plug the Samsung netbook again....downloaded all my pictures to Vicki's netbook (the one she got after finding out mine was so awesome) and now I am ready for another fun day of picture-taking!

Friday, October 01, 2010

So, dealing with Kaylen's school transition has been a bigger deal than Casey or I ever expected. Casey has taken on the bulk of the work and I am so happy she was available to do it.  In between me working part-time, both of us job hunting, hoping to stay away from needing payday advance loans, and keeping up with all the normal parts of life, it is tough to fit in the unexpected sometimes.  We are fortunate this worked out.

Speaking of unexpected, yesterday since Casey was sick, I met Kaylen for lunch and recess and Kelton for his recess.  I was so happy to be able to do that. It was fun meeting Kaylen's friends and seeing her happy with them, and really nice to hang out with my boy, who took me all around his campus, showing me what he does with his days. It meant splitting up my work day, and a lot of back and forth driving, since last night was also my night with them, but it was so worth it. I told them I would do it again sometime. I think it is important that they know I am interested in their days and will take the time to do things like this with them.  I should have visited Kelton at school last year.  This year, I will visit them both, at least a couple times.  I could see it made all of our days!

The School Report

Kaylen is doing great!

I am very pleased to say there have been no tears since Tuesday morning drop off at Kindergarten!  Casey has only been there for lunch and recess and yesterday Kaylen refused to leave school early when Casey came to pick her up! Casey was very sick yesterday, so I did lunch duty, but Casey still picked up the kids after school. She was there picking up some PTO things and was done a bit early, so was going to take the kids out of school just a few minutes early. Kaylen was having no part of it. She got called out of class, went to the office where Casey and Kelton were waiting, said she was not going to leave early because she loves school, and walked back to her class!  YES!!!!!  (Casey will probably have a better account of this than mine - so stay posted for her blog updates.)

What a big day for her - and for us all!  Let's hope the trend continues!